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Indian Military Hopes to Weaponize the Searing "Ghost Pepper"

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the there's-pepper-spray-and-pepper-spray dept.

The Military 267

coondoggie writes "The military in India is looking to weaponize the world's hottest chili, the bhut jolokia or 'ghost pepper,' according to a number of news outlets. The Bhut Jolokia chili pepper from Assam, India is no ordinary pepper. In tests first conducted by the New Mexico State University in 2008 and subsequently confirmed by Guinness World records and others, the Bhut Jolokia reached over one million Scoville heat units, while the next hottest, the Red Savina Habenero, clocks in at a mere 577,000. Scoville units are a universally accepted measure of chili hotness."

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OK ... (5, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31601608)

... but how does this compare to the Merciless Pepper of Quetzalacatenango, also known as the Guatemalan Insanity Pepper?

Scoville units are a universally accepted measure of chili hotness

I thought SCOville was universally accepted to be a litigious outhouse?

Re:OK ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31601720)

Excellent Simpsons reference.

Re:OK ... (3, Informative)

Terminal Saint (668751) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602242)

The problem with Scoville units(and the reason they're NOT a universally accepted measure of chili hotness) is that it's a subjective measure. It's based on taste testing. American Spice Trade Association pungency units are a better measure, as they're determined using high performance liquid chromatography.

Technically correct, but... (5, Informative)

Rene S. Hollan (1943) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602458)

Modern expressions of pungency in terms of Scoville units set pure capsaicin at either 15,000,000 or 16,000,000, and use HPLC to establish concentration of same (and related compounds). A Scoville rating is then set based on the concentration(s) measured.

So, knowing the reference standard, the measurements are actually quite objective.

Nobody, as far as I know, uses taste testers anymore.

Pepper Spray (2, Interesting)

TheLostSamurai (1051736) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602286)

So... they're trying to make pepper spray?

Re:Pepper Spray (3, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602636)

No,

They are attaching blenders to the backs of troops and hooking up pumps to spray it at the enemy.

Wind changes are a bitch with this weapon.

Tastes great (0)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31601620)

Read this on military.com this morning.

http://www.military.com/news/article/india-to-weaponize-worlds-hottest-chili.html

They apparently eat this because it tastes good. To each his own.

Re:Tastes great (2, Interesting)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | more than 4 years ago | (#31601694)

It does taste good. Has an excellent, complex and slightly smoky flavour. Also about as spicy as most pepper spray.
I am American, not Indian, BTW. Just a pepperhead.

Re:Tastes great (2, Funny)

MXPS (1091249) | more than 4 years ago | (#31601730)

Talk about a tasteful death..

Re:Tastes great (1, Informative)

The Dancing Panda (1321121) | more than 4 years ago | (#31601860)

If it gets up to a million scoville units, It's much hotter than most pepper spray. Pepper Spray is around 100,000. Mace is around 300,000.

Re:Tastes great (1)

Rene S. Hollan (1943) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602482)

ER, IIRC, pepper spray is about 10% OC, or around 1.6 million.

Re:Tastes great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31601912)

How would you describe it in comparison to a habanero? I like the heat, but frankly don't care for the flavor of habaneros. Too...I don't know. Bitter-ish? Smoky? I much prefer jalapenos and wax pepper varieties.

Pardon the lack of tildes, it takes too much effort on a netbook.

Re:Tastes great (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 4 years ago | (#31601934)

How would you describe it in comparison to a habanero? I like the heat, but frankly don't care for the flavor of habaneros. Too...I don't know. Bitter-ish? Smoky? I much prefer jalapenos and wax pepper varieties.

Pardon the lack of tildes, it takes too much effort on a netbook.

To me habaneros taste strongly of tropical fruit and jalapenos taste slightly bitter. The "ghost pepper," at least in the dried form in which I bought it, was sort of tangy like a dried thai chili.

Re:Tastes great (2, Informative)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602232)

Sort of a slightly sweet/smoky mix, not really bitter at all. Very mild sourness, then spice. Aftertaste lasts for a while.

Re:Tastes great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31602354)

In my experience, they are smaller, have thinner walls, and are hot all the way rather than having insane heat gradient when approaching the stem.

You are missing only one tilde, BTW.

Re:Tastes great (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#31601958)

I consider the taste reminiscent of the aftertaste of a fresh mango - slightly sweet, smoky, and then you've got that SLAM worse than a habanero.

Re:Tastes great (1)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602326)

I was really sad to find out that my apt doesn't get enough sun to grow these :( They are really tasty.

Re:Tastes great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31601706)

Sounds like a great plan, but what if the target is carry a nice mango Lassi (yogurt based drink) to counter the heat?

Re:Tastes great (2, Informative)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#31601844)

That might work for preventing the spread, but the way that capsascin(sp) works is by activating all the receptors on the nerve. That's where the "heat" comes from, sensory overload.

Re:Tastes great (3, Interesting)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31601938)

Yes but capsaicin is a fat-soluble compound. Water won't dissolve it (which is why drinking water or most liquids do nothing to stop a burning tongue), but milk, yogurt, or any other fat-containing liquid will dissolve it and wash it down the throat, nearly neutralizing the effect.

Re:Tastes great (2, Insightful)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602226)

Then the spray has had its intended effect.

It's supposed to stop you from doing something by incapacitating you with pain and temporarily blinding you.

Whether you are rolling on the floor screaming and ripping your eyeballs out by their bloody stalks, or rolling on the ground screaming and blindly smearing mango Lassi on your eyes is really irrelevant - your hands are otherwise occupied and cannot go for your gun, and you are temporarily blind.

Plus I have to imagine something this high on the Scoville scale would actually do some burn damage before you can wash the capsacin away with your oh-so-handy dairy product. This stuff is ten times as potent as pepper spray, and by all accounts pepper spray REALLY HURTS. Something ten times as potent would probably look at your yogurt and laugh derisively as it sets in enough tissue damage to make you feel pain for a significant period of time.

Re:Tastes great (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602398)

Awesome tactical strategy: Drink the lhassi before teh battul, and wear googles/a gasmask.

Re:Tastes great (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602750)

How is drinking yogurt going to help? The only way yogurt dissolves capsacin is due to the fats in it, and that requires direct contact between the yogurt and the capsacin.

Smear the lhassi all over your body before the battle, and you might be better off. Leave it on for a few hours, and your trenchmates will need the gas masks.

Re:Tastes great (2, Informative)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31601924)

Back when I was working in New Mexico, there was a fair in Taos. One of the guys there was selling Dave's hot sauces, including their new ghost pepper variety. I bought the "temporary insanity" (57,000 scoville units according to this [gourmetmikes.com] ), and it's too hot for me except small doses. About a year later, the bottle is still mostly full.

My roommate, who has a much higher threshold for spicy food than anyone I've ever met, brought the newly unveiled ghost pepper brand (2.5 million scoville units, according to the bottle, if memory serves).

The dealer gave us a taste of it (a tiny drop on the tip of a toothpick) and my god did it burn.

The guy who sold it to us told us a few interesting things about it: (1) It instantly blisters skin on contact (2) it's very expensive to buy over the internet because it has to be shipped as a hazardous materiel. (3) Not only is it good for eating, but it works great as a caustic agent for degreasing driveways, engines, etc.

In short - ghost peppers are not something you play around with.

Re:Tastes great (1)

Fast Thick Pants (1081517) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602094)

(1) It instantly blisters skin on contact
(3) Not only is it good for eating...

I'm having a hard time reconciling the first clause of fact #3 with fact #1.

Re:Tastes great (4, Informative)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602336)

It's not actually caustic. Capsicum just lowers your threshold of heat, so the nerves feel like they are in a hot area. Thus, it "burns" you. Blistering is a reaction to this. If you can use it as a caustic agent it probably has a lot of vinegar added.

Re:Tastes great (3, Informative)

phoenixwade (997892) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602514)

(1) It instantly blisters skin on contact
(3) Not only is it good for eating...

I'm having a hard time reconciling the first clause of fact #3 with fact #1.

That's because "Fact" 1 isn't.
I've been handling all sorts of hot peppers for many years, and the particularly hot ones are very capable of producing a burning sensation on the skin just like in your mouth. And Rubbing your eyes inadvertently will ruin your evening, there is no doubt. But blistering? I sup[pose it could happen if you had an allergic reaction, but that's not even remotely going to be a common thing.

It's been my experience that dealers and vendors are really in to hyping the dangers of the sauces that are typically named "Loco", Death" and "Devil" based scary named variations.. And well they should, it's really good for business, and selling product is what they do.

Re:Tastes great (1)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602732)

You mean like saying it has to be shipped as a hazardous material? :) Hey, maybe he got 1 out of 3 right.

Re:Tastes great (1)

WillDraven (760005) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602136)

I'll take a dozen!

Re:Tastes great (4, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602696)

The guy who sold it to us told us a few interesting things about it: (1) It instantly blisters skin on contact (2) it's very expensive to buy over the internet because it has to be shipped as a hazardous materiel. (3) Not only is it good for eating, but it works great as a caustic agent for degreasing driveways, engines, etc.

the guy who sold it was ragingly full of shit.

I have let it sit on my skin for 20 minutes to prove it's a fake claim... Won $100.00 in the office after that and eating a taco with it on it. (they dont understand that sour cream really kills it's burn)

It's not acid, it dont burn the skin and is worthless for degreasing driveways.

Re:Tastes great (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602324)

Not only does it taste good, but the capsaicin causes the release of endorphins. So you catch a buzz off of it as well.

Military Application (2, Funny)

Ironhandx (1762146) | more than 4 years ago | (#31601680)

Screw invading Iraq, next time do India. Don't forget the nachos though!

Tasteless (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31602598)

Screw you

Indeed. (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31601692)

There is something else I've weaponized, but it won't give you that searing sensation...

Not needed? (5, Funny)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 4 years ago | (#31601718)

From past experience I can recommened the development of a chicken Vindaloo bomb. It will cause injuries when dropped then again about 24 hours later.

Re:Not needed? (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 4 years ago | (#31601760)

Actually I meant more like 6-8 hours

Re:Not needed? (4, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#31601918)

And here I was thinking more like 15 minutes.

But seriously, weaponized Indian food, aside from being redundant, has got to be banned by some kind of international treaty.

Re:Not needed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31602024)

it is under then one that bans chemical weapons. I believe it's the "Chemical Weapons Convention" but don't have that handy offhand. google it yourself and get off my lawn.

Re:Not needed? (1)

Stele (9443) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602488)

I'll be wearing my full-body Lager-suit. Bring it on!

Not the Next Hottest (2, Interesting)

hardburn (141468) | more than 4 years ago | (#31601726)

The next hottest down would be the closely-related Dorset Naga, which is around 900k - 1M scovilles.

But that's if you believe the Scoville scale, which is a subjective measurement of capsaicin content. I've had sauces that advertise a 250k rating that don't seem as hot as some 50k stuff. Makers seem to artifically inflate their ratings all the time, and how the heat hits you can change a lot, too. I've never had the oppertunity to try a Dorset Naga myself, but I've heard they don't have much heat until about 20 minutes later (at which time you might have already had quite a few, popping them like candy).

Re:Not the Next Hottest (1)

billysara (264) | more than 4 years ago | (#31601874)

I eat them quite often - and they are really very, very hot - right from the first bite. Way, way hotter than Scotch Bonnet, Habanero etc.

Re:Not the Next Hottest (4, Informative)

Thyamine (531612) | more than 4 years ago | (#31601926)

Actually, the Scoville scale measures the actual amount of capsaicin in a pepper. The test that Scoville himself invented was subjective. But because of the work he did on it, they named the quantitative units after him.

Re:Not the Next Hottest (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602040)

Hugh, that's pretty cool. Does that mean that if they ever develop a quantitative measure of insect stinginess, they'll name the scale after Schmidt [wikipedia.org] ?

Cus that's one heck of a subjective scale. You gotta love some of his descriptions. A yellowjacket sting is "Hot and smoky, almost irreverent." Irreverent?! I'd say any fuckin bug that bites or stings me is being irreverent, and I can't see how pain can relate to reverence... I can imagine you saying irreverent things as a result of pain, but to describe pain itself?

But mad props to anyone who does extremely painful things to themselves in the name of science!

Gas! Gas! Gas! (1)

Guppy (12314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31601728)

They could try weaponizing extra-spicy Chana Masala too, but that might violate the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Interesting idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31601732)

...but will using condiments provide 100% protection?

Four Horsemen burger of San Antonio, TX (4, Informative)

logicassasin (318009) | more than 4 years ago | (#31601742)

www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kO7MlHgJLA

Hopefully that's the right link.

There's a burger in TX that uses this pepper called the Four Horsemen Burger. As of the taping of this episode of Man Vs Food, only three people had managed to finish one in 25 minutes, with an additional 5 minutes of waiting without liquids. The host of the show became number 4, though it looked like he wasn't going to get past even the first bite.

Isn't that illegal (internationally) if a weapon causes this much pain and suffering?

Re:Four Horsemen burger of San Antonio, TX (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#31601888)

I bet I could eat it in 25 minutes without any liquids for an additional 5 minutes after. BRING IT ON!

Re:Four Horsemen burger of San Antonio, TX (3, Informative)

Cocoronixx (551128) | more than 4 years ago | (#31601892)

Considering that Pepper spray is considered a chemical weapon and is banned under the Chemical Weapons Convention (which India signed & ratified). I'd assume that this would fall under the same ban.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pepper_spray [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemical_Weapons_Convention [wikipedia.org]

Re:Four Horsemen burger of San Antonio, TX (1)

Drethon (1445051) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602288)

Fine, if you don't want me to use peper spray against you I'll just shoot you in the head with a 9mm pistol. Wait a second...

Re:Four Horsemen burger of San Antonio, TX (3, Interesting)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602440)

It depends on the person.

I make Naga Burgers using these peppers:

Ground beef (120g (1/4 pound) is normal.)
Mustard ("stone ground" with seeds): about 1.5 oz (3 tablespoons).
10-12 drops Blair's Ultra Death. Other hot sauce may be used, but it should contain Naga Jolokia peppers. Otherwise it's not a Naga Burger, is it?
1-3 Naga Jolokia (AKA Bhut Jolokia) peppers, minced finely.
Crushed black peppercorns.

Mix beef, mustard, and hot sauce together. Once consistently mixed, form into a patty. Press the crushed black pepper into the patty to coat the surface (like for steak a poivre [wikipedia.org] ). Grill or pan-broil quickly at high temperature to sear the outside & cook the inside to medium-rare. Resulting burger should be quite hot.

That burger they just put the peppers on top, not sure how much it would affect the flavour.

Re:Four Horsemen burger of San Antonio, TX (1)

Stele (9443) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602564)

Now that's a lot of seriously unhealthy-looking people.

Cross-culinary comparison (2, Insightful)

chronosan (1109639) | more than 4 years ago | (#31601756)

From TFA "When deployed, the grenade showers the targets with a dust so spicy that in trials subjects were blinded for hours and left with breathing problems." Still pretty mild compared to weaponized mustard.

Logical progression (2, Funny)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#31601762)

India had weaponized chili peppers long ago - it's called Andhra cuisine.

looks like a way to.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31601792)

spice up the middle peace process and surrounding warzones.

Re:looks like a way to.... (1)

ryantmer (1748734) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602132)

spice up the middle peace process and surrounding warzones.

Thanks, Horatio.

Funny videos (3, Informative)

TopSpin (753) | more than 4 years ago | (#31601794)

Eating raw Jolokia is a source of some mildly entertaining videos. [youtube.com]

Re:Funny videos (1)

Saint Aardvark (159009) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602026)

There's also this entertaining reading [livejournal.com] , entitled "THE DAY MY ARSE DIED". Weird thing is, the guy looks just like me when I had a beard, and I ate a phall many, many years ago. It brought back some painful memories. :-)

God help us if they combine it with (0, Troll)

wiredog (43288) | more than 4 years ago | (#31601816)

Flaming Tatas [thebigmoney.com] .

Meh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31601826)

Weaponizing chilis? Been there, done that (ask the exgirlfriend...)...

Countermeasures (1)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 4 years ago | (#31601828)

In this case "the goggles do something"...

More weapons? (1)

Eggbloke (1698408) | more than 4 years ago | (#31601834)

First supersonic manoeuvrable cruise missiles, now world's hottest chilli bombs? Why does India need all these weapons?

Pakistan and China (2, Interesting)

jamrock (863246) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602472)

Why does India need all these weapons?

Three words: Pakistan and China. They've been to war several times with the former, and have had bloody border clashes with the latter. India has also blamed Pakistan for terrorist violence over Kashmir, among other things, including the bloody attack on the Grand Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai.

It's worse now that Pakistan has nukes, but realistically Pakistan is not a viable military rival for her much larger and far more populous neighbor. The scenario that keeps me up at night is the growing rivalry between the world's two most populous countries, India and China. As China's economy booms and she becomes more assertive on the global stage, both nations will find themselves on a collision course in a competition for resources, and it's interesting to see how it will play out in the coming decades, particularly from a political standpoint, considering that it's a contest between the world's largest democracy and an authoritarian giant (my money is on India).

I'm not Indian, by the way, and I'd be very interested in hearing the viewpoints of any Indian and Chinese Slashdot readers. In your opinions, will the 21st Century see the development of a bi-polar world all over again, with competition and rivalry between two economic powerhouses who espouse radically different political philosophies?

Crisis (3, Funny)

NEDHead (1651195) | more than 4 years ago | (#31601872)

A pepper gap such as this cannot be tolerated. The security of our nation depends on meeting or exceeding these advances! At the very least, a space based pepper shield should be a highest priority. Pepper is Not A Game! Oh, wait, it is. My bad.

Is this needed? (5, Interesting)

joeflies (529536) | more than 4 years ago | (#31601940)

The article implies that 1,000,000 scoville's is nasty stuff compared to the habenero. Yet when looking at wikipedia's entry on the scoville scale, it says law enforcement pepper spray is rated at 5,000,000 to 5,300,00 million scovilles. In other words, the pepper spray currently on the market is already stronger than the bhut jolokia. So what's the news then, if they are developing a weapon with significantly less strength than what's currently on the market?

Re:Is this needed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31602184)

... "5,000,000 to 5,300,00 million scovilles."

number fail?

Re:Is this needed? (2, Insightful)

WillyMF1 (867862) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602218)

That was my first thought too... also, according to Wikipedia they synthesized pure capsicum back in the 1930's. Is this just a some way to produce it cheaper by somehow distilling it out?

Re:Is this needed? (2, Insightful)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602372)

Cheaper, possibly less infrastructure needed (in terms of refining capacity, etc)

Also sends some wealth out to the farming areas where these are grown.

Re:Is this needed? (1)

zerocool^ (112121) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602386)

Not to mention, some sauces such as Dave's Ultimate Insanity (which I had to sign a waiver to purchase), Blair's 3am, etc, are already pushing food additive properties into the multi-million scoville units.

~X

Re:Is this needed? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602402)

One spritz and you're south of the border! MMmmmm, incapacitating.

Perhaps they would develop milk and bread (1)

networkconsultant (1224452) | more than 4 years ago | (#31601966)

defenses!

Not military grade... (2, Informative)

dclozier (1002772) | more than 4 years ago | (#31601970)

So it should be safe to use on your food. http://www.madeinnewmexico.com/647293003150.html [madeinnewmexico.com]

I can't wait to taste this in a batch of chili.

WTF, pure Capsaicin not good enough? (3, Interesting)

meerling (1487879) | more than 4 years ago | (#31601988)

The active ingredient that makes that pepper so hot is Capsaicin, the same stuff in pepper spray.

Is it actually cheaper for them to use the local grown pepper with a variable yield than just using the pure substance with a controlled yield?

The article says they want to use it for troops in cold areas. This scares me. It heavily implies that some moron in charge has no understanding of science. Just because it tastes hot doesn't mean it'll help avoid hypothermia in the slightest. (In fact, they are more likely to succumb to hypothermia if they try to 'reduce' the 'heat' from those peppers by taking off clothes or drinking cold liquids or sucking snow.)

I'm going to throw out a guess that this isn't about the effectiveness of the pepper, but rather a homegrown movement to use a local product (in an inferior form) rather than a possibly foreign product. Sometimes the politicians in India are know to do stupid things like that.
Come to think of it, sometimes US politicians do the same thing...
(Buy American! Even if it's a piece of crap that costs three times as much as the one made in Canada, or where-ever.)

One last thing, don't forget that exposure to high doses of Capsaicin can seriously mess you up, and in some extreme cases, kill.
(For example, gassing someone who has asthma.)

Re:WTF, pure Capsaicin not good enough? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31602070)

Indian military is going organic, trying to move away from the harmful synthetic and over-processed weapons they have now.

Re:WTF, pure Capsaicin not good enough? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602364)

Where do you think they get pure capsaicin?

Re:WTF, pure Capsaicin not good enough? (1)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602416)

It's not difficult normalize the capsaicin content in the process of extraction, therefore there is nothing inherently inferior about taking this direction. Most herbal extracts specified that the active parts are normalized to X% +- a bit. Green tea extract would be a good example.

You could perhaps argue that synthesis is cheaper or whatnot, but you must compare the abundant farmland and no shortage of people to grow them vs having an insdustrial plant and appropriately trained personnel, and so forth.

Sorry, but why? (4, Insightful)

mother_reincarnated (1099781) | more than 4 years ago | (#31601994)

I must be missing something here:

1) I'm pretty sure it's a banned weapon militarily speaking.

2)Who cares which pepper the capsaicin came from!? How would this be any different than any of the current commercial pepper sprays/balls/bombs?

Re:Sorry, but why? (3, Interesting)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602502)

2)Who cares which pepper the capsaicin came from!? How would this be any different than any of the current commercial pepper sprays/balls/bombs?

You don't have to be a chemical engineer to understand that the process of extracting the capsaicin costs money. In theory, you are right, it doesn't matter where it comes from. But if you can get it at high concentrations without much processing, apart from simple drying and grinding (which would be necessary preparatory steps also for the extraction of capsaicin by pentane or some such solvent), then there is no reason why not use it in that form. Besides, pure capsaicin would be too strong and too expensive to be used directly, and would have to be diluted and perhaps mixed into a support material, such as calcium carbonate or such.

Re:Sorry, but why? (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602670)

The hippies will be happy knowing that they are getting doused with organic free trade capsicum rather than some polluting lab created capsicum.

What's the news here? (1)

Excelcia (906188) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602054)

Pepper spray manufacturers have long been extracting pure capsaicinoids to put in their products. It doesn't matter how hot the supplying pepper is, once the capsaicinoid is extracted and purified it has a rating of from 8m-16m scoville heat units (depending on which capsaicinoid they're extracting). OC sprays and grenades dilute that down to about 5m when they use it. So whether the capsiacinoid comes from the "legendary ghost pepper" or a pimento, it doesn't really matter. There is nothing new here.

Re:What's the news here? (1)

WillyMF1 (867862) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602260)

Good point, and capsicum has been able to be synthesized since the 1930's... Maybe they just want the organic label?

Re:What's the news here? (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602432)

Not to mention that the capsaicinoid levels in a pepper are highly variable due to growing regions and conditions. In some regions of India the pepper isn't as hot even though it is the same species. Add to that the amount of rain, sun, etc. all affect levels of the chemical.

Pepper spray is torturous. (2, Insightful)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602126)

...Isn't this going to be a war crime, even if it's very good at neutralizing personell for a while without killing them? Granted I've never been hit with pepper spray or similar, but from the descriptions given by police cadettes (having to have a dose used on themselves before being allowed to use it) I would probably (besides the self-defense trial issues) batter someone quite severely rather than spray them with that stuff. And that's *normal* pepper spray. It would probably be used for temporary area denial (or whatever the proper military term is), sure, but when I saw this I got quite vivid flashes of screaming women and children.

Re:Pepper spray is torturous. (3, Funny)

Khashishi (775369) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602294)

quit being such a wuss

Re:Pepper spray is torturous. (1)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602508)

I've gotten the juice from these things in my eyes (mistake cooking Naga Burgers, see above for recipe) and it burns a bit. My eye watered for almost 5 minutes, and it was rather hard to keep open. I'd not really call it torture though, it wasn't that bad. I'm also very, very used to spice, reaction will vary from person to person.

Re:Pepper spray is torturous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31602530)

Pepper spray as a war crime? Seriously? Yes, it is terrible and everything but that's the point. The police will give you multiple opportunities for compliance before resorting to their weapons. As in all uses of force, its use will (or will not) be merited by the circumstances of the situation. Don't want to get pepper sprayed? Then don't resist arrest.

Re:Pepper spray is torturous. (1)

YouWantFriesWithThat (1123591) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602790)

really? in every instance?

so you are telling me that the cop that walked up on my friend, threw him on the ground face-first and then pepper-sprayed him when he rolled into the fetal positing clutching his shattered teeth and broken nose "gave [him] multiple opportunities for compliance" even though he never uttered a command. FYI the police review board ruled it a reasonable use of force even though the charges of resisting arrest were dropped. he was not breaking any law when approached, just 'looked like a suspect being sought'.

the point here is that if you give someone a tool it will be used, potentially in ways that are not foreseen or desired. but you don't care because you are a law enforcement cheerleader.

Re:Pepper spray is torturous. (1)

ubercam (1025540) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602834)

I've been in a bar where someone pepper-sprayed somebody else and the place cleared out in minutes. I'm asthmatic but it's mainly allergy induced, and I was coughing like crazy and I couldn't see because my eyes were stinging and watering like crazy. I wasn't even sprayed directly, it was just in the air. At first I didn't know what was happening until I got outside and my mouth felt like it was on fire.

Not fun for about 5-10 minutes until everything was more or less back to normal. After that, I couldn't imagine being sprayed directly in the face!

Re:Pepper spray is torturous. (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602838)

I was at our local police college not too long ago. I thought that the pepper spray was deliciously spicy and that was about it, plenty of other people like myself who aren't effected by it either. My sinus is completely messed up which makes using it on me, useless.

What's the point? (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602246)

There are already well established techniques for concentrating/purifying capsaicin.

It's even done commercially for non-weapons uses, plenty of hot sauces have Scoville ratings well above that of any natural pepper - http://www.hotsauceworld.com/bl6amrepeexe.html [hotsauceworld.com]

Pepper Abuse (-1, Troll)

clampolo (1159617) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602290)

How long before some sicko puts one of these peppers in a cat's anus. Don't lie and say you weren't thinking the same exact question.

SCOville units? (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602298)

And SCOville units are a measurement of how annoying a lawsuit is.

from what i read in the press (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602342)

is that they are making hand grenades with this ghost pepper, have they considered painball guns and instead of paint in the paintballs use powdered or jelled ghost pepper

I really like Buth Jolokia - great taste (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602356)

I would like to recomment Buth Jolokia as a great chili, beyond just the high capsaicin content: it's a chili with a particular, very pleasant flavor.

As for "weaponizing it", there is one problem: individual sensitivity to capsaicin is extremely variable.

Re:I really like Buth Jolokia - great taste (1)

omi5cron (1455851) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602688)

i recently tried some, albeit dried. definitely very hot, but strangely and pleasantly having an almost sausage type flavor. quite nice!!

Chemical Variant? (1)

dorpus (636554) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602358)

Could they mean that Bhut Jolokia has some different isomers of capsaicin with differing effects from "standard" pepper sprays? I'd have looked it up on wikipedia but they're down at the moment.

Anyone else? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31602378)

Is this thread making anyone else's mouth water, or is it just me?

This is stupid (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602448)

The 'hotness' of all peppers is caused by the presence of one particular chemical: Capsaicin.

The nature of the pepper is irrelevant unless you are eating the raw pepper. Pure CAPSAICIN will always have the maximum possible Scoville value of about 16,000,000.

The idea of the 'special' extra hot is moronic. Anyone can take a regular old jalapeno pepper, distill it's juices down 1,000 time and make something hotter than the Bhut Jolokia.

In fact, law enforcement grade pepper spray is at least 5x worse than even the Bhut Jolokia.

Anyone making a pepper spray looks for the CHEAPEST pepper you can find, on a dollar per Capsaicin basis, not giving a rat's a$$ about hot hot the original pepper was.

I'm Indian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31602452)

and will be among the few complaining that this isn't hot enough and asking for more of this pepper when they finally drop the bomb!

Call me juvenile ... (5, Funny)

winomonkey (983062) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602798)

FTFA:

In fact, Indian farmers say Bhut paste can be used for everything from sauces to tear gas. And there in lies the military's interest.

The Indian military is interested in the many uses of Bhut paste? I ... I don't know how to respond to this in a mature manner.

I saw that movie... (1)

Antiocheian (859870) | more than 4 years ago | (#31602830)

I saw the "Spices" movie. It was terrible. A hot chick constantly praising "Spices, oh thank you Spices".

Total bullshit.

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